you know, dressaaaaaggge…

When the friendly cashier at the gas station, prompted by my breeches and boots, asks what kind of horses I ride I avoid the embarrassing pantomime by lying and saying “jumping horses”.  It is not that I want to lie but most everyone knows what jumping horses do.  Trying to describe dressage to someone who has not been exposed to it  is quite a challenge.  If you have an explanation that sounds better than “dancing with your horse” please feel free to leave it in the comment box.  It has occurred to me that when learning to ride as a child in England and Germany we were learning the concepts that are commonly known as dressage but we never really called it that specifically.  We were learning riding or training or horsemanship, etc.  The concepts were the same but it was, from my perspective, not so much its own identity.  We didn’t talk about “dressage” as if it were separate from riding in general.  It was training.  It seems to have evolved into having a mystique and a  sense of the unattainable.  I am glad that there are still people like Theo vanBruggen, the site administrator at Topdressage.TV  From what I can gather from the bulletin boards he is an accomplished creator of top dressage freestyle compositions.  He regularly posts  videos of top riders and horses from competitions around the world as well as inviting thought-provoking discussions of real substance.  If the link I hope follows this sentence is the one I want it is of  HansPeter Minderhoud riding the inexperienced ZiziTop….ZiziTop

This is, to me, a great reminder of what dressage is.  It’s not all piaffe, passage, and top hats.  Sometimes dressage is just “training”.

13 thoughts on “you know, dressaaaaaggge…

  1. Dressage was meant as training originally. Isn’t it? It was a way to train horses for battle. Vanity was added much much later. Amazing video!

  2. Thanks for sharing this link! My trainer, our working student and another young horse person were here today for dinner and we were watching the Klaus Balkenhol Trilogy: From Foal to Grand Prix…naturally having a new young horse, this was fascinating! Minderhoud’s ride is yet another piece of education to watch….and yes..THIS IS what it’s all about!

    1. ooooh, I haven’t heard of this trilogy, it sounds great. is it still available somewhere? thanks for the comments! I have enjoyed your postings and your new horse is stunning!

      1. You could get it through any of the catalogs, such as Smartpak, Dressage Extensions, probably Dover Saddlery…of course nothing beats Amazon.com…just search on Balkenhol DVD…you are sure to find it…

        Thanks for admiring my new baby…I crazy about him, but am taking it slow and letting the working student get some kinks out for me! I am definitely a little too old to ride the babies…I’m too defensive a rider to really ride him forward in an emergency!

  3. I just love the calm and reassuring way he rides through the horses fear. If only I can remember to keep that kind of demeanor instead of panicing and tensing up. Forgetting the test and using the experience as a teachable moment for the horse. What a great attitude to adopt

  4. Isn’t it the truth…yesterday, the kid was higher than a kite and I watched our working student patiently sit it out. I’m on the sidelines, saying “yes, yes..that’s right that’s how it’s done.” AND saying to myself, “that’s all I have to do…just sit still, stay relaxed…”

    So easy from the ground…..

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